DATE=2/22/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=IRAN REFORMIST PROFILE NUMBER=5-45490 BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=TEHRAN CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Official returns from Iran's parliamentary elections show a coalition of reformist candidates winning three-fourths of the seats. The reformists are led by a young physician, Mohammadreza Khatami, who received a vote from more than 65 percent (67.88 per cent) of those casting ballots in Tehran. V-O-A correspondent Scott Bobb in the Iranian capital has this profile of the reformists' new star, who happens to be the brother of Iran's president. TEXT: The victory by the reformist coalition did not come as a surprise to most. But the landslide vote for the main reformist group, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has astonished many who did not expect voters to so overwhelmingly reject the veteran statesmen who have led the country since the revolution 21 years ago. Just what most Iranians are looking for in the new generation can be seen in the leader of the Participation Front and top vote-getter in Tehran, Mohammadreza Khatami. Dr. Khatami has benefited from voter recognition of his family name, which has come to symbolize the push for political change since his older brother was elected president three years ago. However, many Iranian observers say the younger brother of the president is also an experienced political tactician who will exert considerable influence in the new parliament. Following his election, Dr. Khatami outlined his priorities. /// KHATAMI ACT ONE /// The first thing that we (will pursue) is the political development in Iran. For example, the laws that restrict the press, we will remove them. And the law for elections, that makes some difficulties for people to vote for whom they want. I think this law will be changed. /// END ACT /// Dr. Khatami says his group also wants to satisfy demands from youth and women for more freedom and opportunities. Born in 40 years ago (1959) in Ardekan, central Iran, Mohammadreza Khatami chose not to not follow his elder brother into the clergy, but instead studied medicine. Educated almost entirely in Iran, he became a doctor specializing in the treatment of kidney diseases. He has strong revolutionary credentials. As a student, he was a member of the Followers of the Imam's Line group that emerged following the takeover of the U-S embassy in Tehran. And he volunteered for the front during the Iran-Iraq War. Dr. Khatami was a deputy minister of health in the first governments after the revolution and later a consultant to the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture. With the election of his brother Mohammed Khatami to the presidency in 1997, Dr. Khatami's involvement in the political reform movement deepened. He founded the Mosharekat, or Participation, newspaper that is the mouthpiece for his alliance. And he became chairman of the group's political bureau. Although he retains some of his youthful idealism, Dr. Khatami is also pragmatic. Asked about possible resistance to reform from the judiciary and religious oversight councils that are still under conservative control, Dr. Khatami is optimistic but says change may take time. /// KHATAMI ACT TWO /// General opinion can affect the other authorities that are not electable (elected). So I think the reform will be run (implemented) step by step. /// END ACT /// Nevertheless, Dr. Khatami says he expects some changes to become evident very quickly and he says that every day what he calls the difficulties will become less and less. (Signed) NEB/SB/JWH/LTD/KL 22-Feb-2000 08:33 AM EDT (22-Feb-2000 1333 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .